FODMAP is the acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. FODMAPs are certain types of carbohydrates found in foods, including:
fructose (i.e. certain fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup (HCFS)),
lactose (i.e. dairy products),
fructans (i.e. wheat, garlic, apples, baked beans),
galactans (i.e. beans, lentils, and soybeans), and
polyols (artificial sweeteners containing isomalt, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and fruits with stones like avocados and apricots).
Originally, the diet came from a group of researchers looking for a way to help people suffering from either Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (FGIDs). They developed a theory that IBS and FGIDs may come from consuming certain foods that are poorly absorbed in the small intestines. Poor digestion allows time for FODMAPs to be fermented upon by gastrointestinal bacteria and produce hydrogen and methane in the gut.
Why Should You Try the FODMAP Diet?
If you experience the symptoms of either IBS or FGIDs, such as: excessive gas, bloating, distension, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation you may want to use the FODMAP diet. (Have a professional medical practitioner’s diagnosis if you suspect you have IBS or a FGID.) The Low FODMAP diet is filled with high fiber and high natural, prebiotic foods. The basic idea is to reduce gas causing foods, such as the short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly digested in the small intestines. The Low FODMAP foods will also help develop the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. It’s not usually a permanent diet solution. Normally, it’s used to try to reduce symptoms of IBS or an FGID by use for two to six weeks and then gradually re-introducing small amounts of individual foods back into your diet.
Foods Recommended on a Low FODMAP Diet
Meat: Beef, canned tuna, chicken, deli slices not prepared with HFCS, eggs, fish, lamb, pork, shellfish, turkey;
Lactose-free or low-lactose dairy, such as: cream cheese, half and half, hard cheeses (cheddar, Colby, parmesan, swiss, etc.), mozzarella, sherbet, yogurt (greek), whipped cream;
Rice or almond milk substitutes, nuts, such as: walnuts, macadamias, peanuts, pecans, and pine nuts, nut butters, tempeh, soy milk made from soy protein;
Gluten Grains: Gluten-free breads, tortillas, cereals, pastas, crackers and chips that are made with spelt grains (corn, oats, potato, quinoa, rice, tapioca), oatmeal and oat bran, popcorn, quinoa, rice and rice bran;
Fruits: Bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, cranberries, grapes, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwi, kumquat, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, passion fruit, pineapple, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, tangerines;
Vegetables: Alfalfa sprouts, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, bell peppers, bok choy, carrots, cabbage, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, kale, lettuce, parsnips, pumpkin, potatoes, radishes, rutabaga, seaweed, spinach, squash, tomatoes, turnips, yams, water chestnuts, zucchini;
Drink: Coffee, espresso made with lactose-free cow’s milk, herbal tea (weak), dandelion tea, black tea (weak), green tea, peppermint tea, white leaf tea;
Jams and jellies without HFCS, dark chocolate, pickles, salsa, most spices and herbs, homemade broths, butter, chives, cooking oils, mustard, margarine, mayonnaise, onion (spring-green part), olives, pepper, salt, seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower), sugar, soy sauce, vinegar.
Foods to Avoid on a Low FODMAP Diet
Any food made with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS);
Any food made with the artificial sweeteners isomalt, mannitol, sorbitol or xylitol;
High lactose dairy such as: cow’s milk, buttermilk, creamy sauces, custard, goat’s milk;
Milk chocolate, soft cheeses such as: cottage cheese, ricotta, soy milk made from soy beans;
Fruits: Apples, applesauce, apricots, blackberries, boysenberries, cherries, coconut, dates, dried fruits, figs, guava, mango, nectarines, papaya, peaches, pears, plums, persimmons, prunes, watermelon;
Legumes like beans, chickpeas, lentils, and soybeans;
Fortified wines like sherry and port, espresso made with cow’s milk, chamomile tea, strong herbal teas with chicory root, oolong tea;
Chutney, jams and jellies made with HFCS, agave, garlic, garlic salts and powders, honey, molasses with HFCS, onion salts and powders, salsa, tomato paste.
Foods to Limit on a Low FODMAP Diet
- 1/2 per meal for low-lactose dairy
- 1/2 medium grapefruit
- 4 beet slices
- 1 celery stick
- Make teas that are fruit-based and contain chicory root weak
A Sample Menu Based on the Foods Recommended on a Low FODMAP Diet List Include 6-8 glasses of water every day.
- Breakfast: Omelet with cheddar cheese, bell peppers, spinach, olives and tomatoes, gluten-free toast with lactose free spread, coffee.
- Lunch: Sandwich made with gluten-free bread, turkey (no HFCS), swiss cheese, alfalfa sprouts, HCFS-free mayonnaise and mustard. Corn chips, snack, sunflower, seedsGlass of lemonade.
- Dinner: Roast beef, potatoes baked with salt and rosemary, salad made with lettuce and tomatoes and no HFCS balsalmic vinegar dressing, a glass of weak peppermint tea.
- Breakfast: Smoothie made with banana, frozen strawberries, flax seeds and almond milk, green tea.
- Lunch: Sandwich made with gluten-free bread, leftover roast beef, swiss cheese, mayonnaise and alfalfa sprouts, gluten-free crackers, snack, cantaloupe, glass of lemonade.
- Dinner: Baked chicken cooked with the spring-green part of an onion, sunflower seed cooking oil, salt, pepper and topped with a HCFS sauce to serve, brown rice, steamed green beans with sliced almonds.
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with blueberries and brown sugar, coffee.
- Lunch: Leftover baked chicken, salad made with spinach, tomatoes, mandarin oranges and a raspberry (HCFS free), vinaigrette, gluten free crackers, snack, sunflower seeds, glass of limeade.
- Dinner: Pork stir-fry made with cabbage, carrots, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and green beans, brown rice, peppermint tea.
- Breakfast: Smoothie made with banana, frozen blueberries, chia seeds and almond milk, coffee.
- Lunch: Salad made with spinach, tomatoes, almond slices, tuna, and a raspberry (HCFS free) vinaigrette, snack. Lactose-free yogurt with strawberries, cup of weak black tea.
- Dinner: Beef stew made with allowed foods, i.e. parsnips (no tomato paste or onions).
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with banana slices, almond milk and brown sugar, coffee.
- Lunch: Sandwich made with gluten-free bread, turkey (no HFCS), swiss cheese, alfalfa sprouts, HFCS-free, mayonnaise and mustard, snack, cantaloupe, limeade.
- Dinner: Chicken adobo made with none of the foods to avoid, gluten-free chips, salsa made with tomatoes, onion, greens, parsley and limes, cup of peppermint tea.
- Breakfast: Smoothie made with banana, frozen strawberries, flax seeds and almond milk, cup of coffee.
- Lunch: Gluten-free chips with melted cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, bell peppers and olives, snack, leftover gluten-free chips and salsa, limeade.
- Dinner: Pan-fried shrimp cooked in sunflower oil, topped with lemon, brown rice, stir fry vegetables: carrots, cabbage, green beans, and bean sprouts.
- Breakfast: Gluten-free waffles covered with blueberries and maple syrup (made with no HFCS), cup of coffee.
- Lunch: Salad made with lettuce, bell pepper, tomato, alfalfa sprouts and topped with HFCS-free dressing, snack, lactose-free yogurt with strawberries, cup of weak black tea.
- Dinner: Baked ham slices topped with pineapple chunks, potatoes baked in sunflower seed oil, salt, and rosemary leaves, baked green beans topped with almond slices.
Example of a Low FODMAP Shopping List
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Almond milk
- Almonds, sliced
- Beef for roasting
- Beef for stew
- Bean sprouts
- Bell peppers, red, yellow, green
- Bread, gluten-free
- Cheese, cheddar
- Cheese, swiss
- Chia seeds
- Chicken breast
- Chips, corn
- Crackers, gluten-free
- Bay leaves
- Beans, green
- Beef, Roast
- Ham, slices for roasting
- Maple syrup, HFCS free
- Onion greens
- Oranges, mandarin
- Pepper, cayenne
- Pork for stir-fry
- Potatoes for roasting
- Salsa, gluten and onion-free
- Soy sauce
- Sugar, brown
- Sunflower seed oil
- Sunflower seeds
- Tea, green
- Tea, peppermint
- Tortilla, corn
- Vinaigrette, raspberry (no HCFS)
- Vinegar, white
- Waffles, gluten-free
- Yogurt, lactose-free
Tips for a Successful Low FOMAP Diet Experience
If you choose to follow the Low FODMAP diet, do yourself a favor by starting out fresh. Clear your pantry out of all the foods to avoid.
Read food labels for HFCS.
If a food to avoid is listed at the end of an ingredient list, it can be used in moderation.
Although this is not a gluten-free diet, gluten-free products so not have wheat, barley or rye in them.
If you experience constipation, try eating oatmeal.
Drink lots of water!
Looking for More Low-FODMAP Meals?
Take a look at the book, The Low-FODMAP Diet Cookbook: 150 Simple, Flavorful, Gut-Friendly Recipes to Ease the Symptoms of IBS.
See it on Amazon (aff link)
A sampling of the recipes included:
- Breakfasts: Blueberry Pancakes; Banana-Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Sides: Spring Rolls; Chicken, Bacon, and Pesto Mini Pizzas; Stuffed Roasted Bell Peppers
- Mains: Chicken and Vegetable Curry; Speedy Spaghetti Bolognese; Beef Satay Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce
- Desserts: Flourless Chocolate Cake; Almond Cookies; Baked Blueberry Cheesecakes
You can see the full recipe list on the Amazon page.